Head Held High

It’s good to be back at it after a nice week off.  Most of you know where I was, for those of you at a lost here is a fairly large hint: .  That’s right I was with 113,089 of my closest friends for the UConn/Michigan game on Saturday.  What an unbelievable day.  Not only was it the largest crowd ever to watch a football game in America which by itself was worth the price of admission, it was also the official re-dedication of Michigan Stadium.  The most iconic football stadium in the country.  There were two flyovers during pre-game and a pretty nice fireworks celebration.  The event that brought the house down though was a walk out to mid-field. 

Brock Mealer is the brother of a Michigan lineman.  He was involved in a car crash that killed his father and his brothers girlfriend.  Brock was given a 1% chance to walk again.  Head coach Rich Rodriguez issued a challenge to Brock, keep working hard and you can lead the team onto the field for Opening Day.  Brock kept up his end of the bargain and on Saturday, Coach Rod did the same.  There are very few moments that can bring me to tears, watching this kid take those steps out to mid-field did it to me as well as the rest of the crowd.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.  I don’t know if it meant that much to me because my father was a paraplegic or because I knew of his story or the combination of the two, but it is a two-minute block I will never forget.  I only wish I had shot video of it, but I was too busy clapping and cheering Brock on.  He made it out to the banner, stopped and touched it, quickly followed by the rest of the Michigan team.  I could tell at that moment, the game was over before it even started.

Everything from that moment on seemed to fall into place.  From the play of Denard Robinson to the speed of the defense, I could tell that this was a different Michigan team.  I have been a supporter of Coach Rod from the word “go”.  I trusted his system and had belief that it could work in the Big Ten.  He just needed the time and patience to install it and get his type of players.  This is just the third year, but you can tell what a difference he has made.  They are bigger, faster and stronger than they were last year.  They mostly have freshman and sophomores on the roster.  Just wait a couple of years.  The rest of the conference, let alone the country, better watch out.  I am smart enough to realize that this year is just another step toward the ultimate goal.  8-4 is a reasonable and very attainable goal.  Even though I think Rodriguez needs to keep his job no matter what, 8 wins will secure him for a long time.  To all the Michigan fans, throw all your faith behind this coaching staff, you won’t be disappointed.  To all you haters:  I hope you enjoyed your two-year shit-talking run, the time for redemption is upon us.

Back to the game, our seats were un-real.  All the Michigan scores happened at our end zone.  We were 8 rows back.  What a great perspective of the stadium.  The student section was decked out in its finest maize:  and the band was in its full glory:.  Even had the pleasure of seeing one of my former players, Jeff Ventres, march in the UConn band and have a trumpet solo during their halftime performance.  The new additions to the stadium were gorgeous and they helped make the place even louder.  I see the “Big House” becoming more of a home field advantage.

On a more personal note, the fact I spent the weekend with the people I care most about made it perfect.  This was Nikki and mine 4th trip out to Ann Arbor.  This time we brought my brother Cam out for his 1st experience and was able to bring Avery along as well.  All in all it was a fantastic weekend but it feels good to be back doing what I love. 

Of course being back means I start my new job.  First day was yesterday.  I am now a JV girls soccer coach.  Please, pray for me.

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One Response to “Head Held High”

  1. Gee, I’m feeling kind of left out.

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